Advisory committee to aid search for Matthaei-Nichols director


Michael J. Solomon, dean of the Rackham Graduate School and vice provost for academic affairs — graduate studies, has announced the creation of an advisory committee to help search for the next director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

The committee is looking for a replacement for Bob Grese, who is stepping down after serving as director of MBGNA since 2004. He was also the director of Nichols Arboretum from 1999 to 2004.

“I look forward to the selection of a new director who will seek to further the MBGNA mission of promoting environmental enjoyment, stewardship and sustainability through education, research and interaction with the natural world,” Solomon said in an email to colleagues. “This is an important search and I welcome your support in the process.”

The search committee includes faculty members, staff representatives and other members of the university and MBGNA community. The group is charged with conducting a broad search and presenting an unranked slate of recommended candidates.

The committee’s first meeting was March 11. Its members are:

  • Chris Poulsen (chair), associate dean for natural sciences, and professor of earth and environmental sciences, LSA; and professor of climate and space sciences and engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Sara Adlerstein Gonzalez, associate research scientist, environment and sustainability, and intermittent lecturer in general operations, School for Environment and Sustainability.
  • Maricela Avalos, data and geographic information systems specialist, MBGNA.
  • Regina Baucom, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, LSA.
  • Jenna Bednar, Edie N. Goldenberg Endowed Director of the Michigan in Washington Program, and professor of political science, LSA; and research professor, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research.
  • Rebecca Harley, undergraduate student, LSA; campus farm student manager, MBGNA.
  • Jeremy Moghtader, campus farm program manager, MBGNA.
  • Frances Mueller, associate vice provost for academic and budgetary Affairs, Office of the Provost.
  • Keesa V. Johnson, graduate student research assistant; campus farm student manager, MBGNA.
  • Tom Porter, MBGNA Vision Leaders Council.

Solomon said Grese, the outgoing director, advanced the gardens and arboretum through his “deep commitment to its mission of environmental enjoyment, stewardship and sustainability.”

“The Campus Farm, the Peony Gardens and the Bonsai Collection are just a few examples of the ways in which MBGNA engages the campus community and the public in education, research and interaction with the natural world,” Solomon said.


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